Kamala Harris attacked Joe Biden over the former vice president’s track record on race during a tense moment during Thursday’s Democratic debate.
“Vice President Biden, I do not think you are racist,” said the California senator. “But it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.”
“You also worked with them to oppose busing,” continued Harris. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day and that little girl was me.”
Biden defended his record by telling Harris it was her city council that made the decision.
“So that’s where the federal government must step in,” countered Harris. “That’s why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. That’s why we need to pass the Equality Act, that’s why we need to pass the ERA, because there are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civl rights of all people.”
The former vice president’s record with busing came under scrutiny after he spoke favorably of working with segregationists in the Senate. In 1975, Jack Greenberg, the former director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, accused Biden of heaving “a brick through the window of school integration” by sponsoring legislation which prevented courts from enforcing desegregation policies.